When providing customer service, catering to all channels in a consistent manner can be challenging. Just because agents are well-trained to assist clients over the phone doesn’t mean the same agent can deliver equal quality via email. Take the time to review standardized email support service as email customer service presents its own set of challenges.
Lack of voice removes an element of expression from our communication, making it more difficult to convey tone. In addition to using the right language, using well-written, well-research and structured responses all work together to create an award-winning response.
To start defining the quality assurance process for your email support team, here are a few pointers to get you started in the right direction.
Empathizing with customers over the phone is nothing new. Yet, when customer emails are sent out, we often times go straight to addressing their problem without appealing to the emotional side of customer service. Although there’s nothing wrong with that, just because don't directly speaking to the customer does not mean that it’s alright to deliver just OK customer service.
Appealing to the customer and taking the time to understand the emotional aspect of the issue with a simple: "I understand your concern/issue/dilemma with…" and reiterating that issue for clarification helps you connect with the customer and lets them know you really understand their needs.
Not only that but appealing to their emotional state immediately lowers the shield and creates trust as well as prepares them for the answer or solution you are about to give them.
Stay on a first name basis
No matter how simple, every interaction must be taken as an opportunity to build on your relationship with your customer. This doesn’t mean agents should become pen pals with customers. It can be as simple as having agents presenting themselves and address clients by their first name.
By saying, “Alright [client’s first name], I removed the [product description] from your order,” automatically personalizes the interaction and makes the contact more familiar.
Personalize scripted responses
It's OK and to use scripted responses. Email customer service would be extremely time-consuming without them. Having to rewrite answers from scratch for frequently asked questions would be a bit of a waste of time. But customers don’t really care for obviously canned answers.
In a day and age where every client expects to receive unique and personal attention, it’s important to leave room for improvisation and fill in the blank's to adapt your response to each individual client’s case.
Research and synthesize
When a client reaches out to your brand, this action is already a big step on their part. Now it’s your job to ensure your customer service agents can take it from there. Make it so that the client doesn’t have to answer back and reach out again (unless it’s to thank you for your outstanding service).
This can be done by doing two things:
- Thoroughly understanding their question.
- Reviewing and researching their individual case and history.
These actions might take a little more effort than a simple copy-paste of a scripted answer, but it will eliminate back-and-forth email exchanges and guarantee a happier customer.
Be casual within limits
There’s nothing wrong with sounding human. Using casual conversation and filler words like yep, OK, um and sure as you would with a friend is perfectly acceptable and even appreciated.
However, too much of a good thing can backfire especially when dealing with complaints. A conversational written tone can come off as unprofessional or not serious. A customer could misinterpret casual language for carelessness on a matter they consider serious.
Therefore, although a casual tone is welcome, a bit of formality is expected when dealing with complaints or serious matters.
When to use a casual tone
- Exchange request
- Product/company/shipping inquiry
- Sale/taking an order
When to use a more formal tone
- Faulty/broken product complain
- Late shipping
- Missing item
Avoid hidden negative words
Negative words might already be part of our way of thinking and language. They might not even seem negative. Words like but, actually, no and don't seem harmless but can negatively impact the tone of the message delivered to the customer and influences their perception. These can easily escape an agent over phone support.
Through email customer support, agents are given a second chance to adapt their language before sending, tweaking the message and wording to perfection.
Client: My order has not been received.
Agent: Actually, it appears as if it has been delivered in our system. But let me see what I can do about this package.
Agent: It appears as if it has been delivered in our system. Let me see what I can do about this package.
See the difference? Your clients will too.
Thank them no matter what
Believe it or not, even customer complaints are gifts in disguise. In today’s busy world where time is of the essence, it’s important to thank your customers for taking the time to reach out. Every interaction provides insights and tips for improvement to improve your product and service. If used correctly, this can potentially increase sales and customer satisfaction.
A complaint should be seen as a chance to address any issues and shed light on areas that could have been overlooked.
For this, they deserve a big thank you.
Rocking at email customer support? We’d love to hear what tricks have worked for you in the comment box down below.